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Local Mayor Gets Praise -- And Criticism -- For Way He's Honoring Chattanooga Shooting Victims

By Ian Bush

EASTON, Pa. (CBS) - A Pennsylvania mayor is getting mostly cheers -- but also some jeers -- for his move to honor the military men killed in the Chattanooga shootings.  He's defying protocol that governs how the U.S. flag is flown.

"This is the big American flag that flies in our Centre Square of our downtown," says  Easton Mayor Sal Panto.

It's now at half-staff, thanks to Panto, who was asked to do just that by a resident:

"I responded to her at the time that only the president and the governor have the right to lower the American flag."

So he decided to lower the city flag.  But standing at the pole in the middle of the night on Saturday, he had second thoughts:

"You know what? These guys served under the American flag, so I lowered the American flag," says Panto.

Panto will hoist it back up early this week, in a ceremony with kids in a summer camp run by his office.

Criticism he's hearing includes overuse of the symbol of mourning lessens its significance, but Panto says the majority of people are behind this show of support for the families of the fallen:

"And at least this is something that will -- you know what? Someone felt enough of my son to lower the flag."

A state official tells KYW Newsradio that Panto is unlikely to face any criminal penalty.

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